UNDP launches new initiative with mayors to boost solar energy

Mayors from eight countries have joined forces with UNDP on a new initiative to boost financing for solar energy.

  Lisbon, 18 March – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with mayors from eight countries - Moldova, Serbia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Croatia, Somalia, Lebanon and Portugal - today launched a new initiative to boost financing for solar energy in cities across the world. The Solar Mayors platform will connect cities around the topic of energy transition and production of solar energy in urban contexts. Functioning as an online community, the platform represents an opportunity for Mayors to learn about the latest trends in the industry, share best practices, and collectively promote citizen engagement. The platform encourages peer-to-peer learning and cooperation with the private sector and NGOs, two factors recognized ...
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Beyond bitcoin - Using blockchain to advance the SDGs


Imagine losing your legal identification and other official documents in a natural disaster, as thousands of Haitians did in the deadly 2010 earthquake. Without land title, rebuilding your home or business becomes impossible: Why invest in rebuilding at all when someone else can come along and claim your property? Imagine trying to register for school, open a bank account, secure health care or other benefits, marry, vote, get a passport, or travel without the ability to prove who you are. Around 1 billion people live in this situation today ( World Bank, 2018 ), many of them refugees, migrants, or children born in the poorest, most remote regions of the globe with little or no capacity to collect data and generate durable records. Blockcha...
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A fair deal for Ecuadorian cocoa farmers

Photo: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Who can imagine Valentine's Day without bon-bons, or Easter without chocolate eggs? Yet generations-old cocoa farming businesses are on the verge of collapse in the Amazon because cocoa farmers don't receive fair pay for their work. Using blockchain technology, the United Nations Development Programme in Ecuador , AltFinLab and Amsterdam's FairChain Foundation are developing one of the world's first blockchain shared-value chocolate bars.     Best known as the technology behind cryptocurrencies, blockchain is still too new and cutting edge for many industries. However, as AltFinLab points out in its White Paper 'The Future is Decentralized ', blockchain can potentially revolutionize the food industry. Blockchain data cannot be man...
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Adopting a cedar tree brings diaspora money home

Lebanon's ancient and famous cedar forests are getting help from 21st century blockchain technology. Photo: UNDP Lebanon

  In 2018 the UNDP Innovation Facility issued a Call for Proposals to promote development through the innovative use of Artificial Intelligence, big data, behavioural insights and impact financing. A record of more than 195 proposals were received, and 29 winners chosen from 35 countries. UNDP Lebanon, UNDP AltFinLab and its partners won with a proposal which will help to reinvigorate the country's ancient cedar forests. The Syria crisis has placed a great strain on its immediate neighbour Lebanon. The country of just over six million has taken in more than a million refugees in the past seven years. Its infrastructure, public finances, and environment are suffering as a result, and Lebanon doesn't have the money to cope. According to ...
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Blockchain links Serbian diaspora and their families back home


With the arrival of the 4 th industrial revolution, new technologies will increasingly enable citizens to engage with governments, voice their opinions and coordinate their efforts. Because of the increasingly changing world of today, governments, citizens and development actors alike need to quickly adapt, get a better understanding of advanced technologies, and learn how they can best be used for the benefit of the society as a whole. The new UNDP's strategic approach is relying on innovation and experimentation to ensure that key development actors are able to use new technologies to drive the progress towards the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals . To be able to do so and help the governments of...
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The Benefits of Crowd Urbanism


  The Benefits of Crowd Urbanism Based on lessons learned – some of which are mentioned below – crowdfunding can bridge the gap between top-down and bottom-up ways of thinking. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Alternative Finance Lab has been working and experimenting with crowdfunding now more than five years, by developing campaigns, workshops, booklets and observing how this new way of financing can help communities to become more resilient and empowered. Due to fiscal constraints governments are facing globally, conventional means of financing municipal projects are at risk, opening the floor for various alternative financing mechanisms. Crowdfunding mechanisms are one of the fastest growing: they can help leverage pub...
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The Future is Decentralised - Block chains, distributed ledgers & the future of sustainable development


UNDP AltFinLab partnered with Blockchain.com, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to explore how block chain technology works, but also how it is already being used to pursue conventional ends. The culmination of that partnership is in the form of a white paper titled, The Future is Decentralised. We're excited to share how this technology has brought new levels of efficiency and effectiveness to the fields of development aid, supply chain management, renewable energy, economic growth, and several others. The potential of block chains to disrupt industrial sectors, commercial processes, governmental structures or economic systems seems to know no bounds. We suggest that the transformative power of block chain techn...
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Can blockchain help us better assist refugees and migrants in transit?


Technology can both empower and disempower. At a recent workshop on blockchain , we landed a challenge: how can we use it to facilitate refugee integration? I am an immediate misfit in the dynamic multiverse of people speaking in code. But at this USAID event led by the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab and AID:Tech , I wasn't the only one. My team, half tree-huggers and half tech gurus, started our brainstorming with this question: what do we have in common? The answer was a strong sense of identity. That fragile sense of self, inflated when our boss pats us on the back and shattered when somebody "swipes left". Displaced people often struggle with identity loss. It isn't just about that "blood and soil" sense of belongingness that disappears w...
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“From Russia to Tajikistan”: changing the way money moves


​ Could blockchain-based payment systems make financial access easier for migrant workers sending remittance payments from abroad, make the transfer cheaper, faster and more secure ? Citizens of Tajikistan rely heavily on remittances . A lack of job opportunities means that up to 1 million (out of a population of 8 billion) migrate elsewhere for work, mostly Russia. Until 2014, the share of remittances made up around 43 percent of the national GDP, roughly US$4 billion a year , The global recession and the depreciation of the Russian and Tajik currencies against the US dollar has since caused a sharp decline in remittances. But its share is still significant at 20-25 percent, as labor migration continues to be attractive .  When we vis...
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BLOCKCHAIN RESEARCH


We have recently started to work on the White Paper with Blockchain - the world's leading Bitcoin software company. Together we are working on better understanding the development space and evaluating how this technological innovation can bring about radical transparency & efficiency in the flow of aid.The paper is exploring six key sectors - trade finance, remittances, digital ID, development aid financing, property rights, and energy blockchain. We're cooperating with the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (check out an impressive line up of people they've had for a discussion on distributed ledger technologies a few months back) on design of a challenge prize for social applications of blockchain that would (hopefully) ...
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TAJIKISTAN: SENDING REMITTANCES FROM RUSSIA TO TAJIKISTAN


In Tajikistan, we are working with BitSPark on investigating possibilities to transfer remittances money from Tajikistan workers from Russia to Tajikistan using Bitcoins. Remittances are a growing and critical lifeline for many people and countries around the world, as demonstrated clearly by Tajikistan where 50% of the country GDP relies on remittance income. ​
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MOLDOVA - Testing use of Emercoin/Blockchain for Fleet Management


In Moldova, we are testing to find out if Blockchain can provide a more effective way of managing the United Nations car fleet. On this project we cooperate with EmerCoin - a digital currency and blockchain service platform and with DeePlace company. The blockchain technology is to demonstrate the possibility of a more effective way of managing the UN car fleet in an emergency situation. Blockchain could provide a more effective way of transferring and tracking funds.
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SERBIA - SENDING REMITTANCES FROM SERBIAN DIASPORA TO THE CITY OF NIS BENEFICIARIES


As remittances are an important part of the economic impact of migration, in Serbia we're working on designing a proof of concept for remittance transfers over blockchain. The program's goal is to find a cheaper cross-border transfer system which cuts out intermediaries such as Western Union, and targeted toward specific needs in Serbia. In this project, we are working together with AidTech - a blockchain startup, one among ten finalists of the European Commission 2016 Social Innovation Competition. ​
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UNDPCrowd – a New Kid on the Block?


She is in her 30-ies, borderless, decentralised and the Master-Mind of "Governance 2.0", the BitNation. Her name is Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof and she shook the minds of #UNDPCrowd yesterday, as the Sun set down over Bosporus and the room was getting hot, powered by each person emitting 100 Watts worth of heat. 100×70=7kW heat. It is so hot I can't think. What the hack is BitNation? I'll quote them as that is the zest of their existence: „ BitNation does not care where in the world you are from, where you live, or what passport you hold. Everyone has the right to enjoy high-end, competitive governance services." And that is the point behind a gal who left school when she was fifteen and is self-thought since. She did quite well with self-e...
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UNDPCrowd – a New Kid on the Block?


She is in her 30-ies, borderless, decentralised and the Master-Mind of "Governance 2.0", the BitNation. Her name is Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof and she shook the minds of #UNDPCrowd yesterday, as the Sun set down over Bosporus and the room was getting hot, powered by each person emitting 100 Watts worth of heat. 100×70=7kW heat. It is so hot I can't think. What the hack is BitNation? I'll quote them as that is the zest of their existence: „ BitNation does not care where in the world you are from, where you live, or what passport you hold. Everyone has the right to enjoy high-end, competitive governance services." And that is the point behind a gal who left school when she was fifteen and is self-thought since. She did quite well with self-e...
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Talking in tongues: From crypto currencies to breaking blockchains


​ From equity-based crowfunding and person-to-person lending, to crypto currencies and mobile money; entirely new players are disrupting the field of financing for development and public policy. So, what does this alternative finance space look like? Who are the new players and what are they up to? Crowd-power According to the World Bank, the crowdfunding market is expected to grow to US $100 billion by 2025. Recent research shows that – despite living in countries where the cost of doing business is quite high – entrepreneurs are successfully raising money by crowdfunding, and bypassing loads of red tape in the process. (Image via Allied Crowds) And it's not just money. New platforms are springing up focusing on everything from expertise a...
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